African carrier LAM - Linhas Aereas de Mocambique has reinforced its commitment to introduce three brand new Boeing 737-700 Next-Generation aircraft to its fleet between 2015 and 2017 after officially welcoming its first aircraft of the type into its fleet last month. The leased aircraft, formerly operated by Aeromexico, was acquired from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in late April but has been in storage up until its official baptism by the Minister of Transport and Communications, Gabriel Muthisse on May 29, 2014.
The ten-year old aircraft is the first Next-Generation 737 to be flown by LAM - Linhas Aereas de Mocambique and will operate alongside and eventually replace older 737-500 (15 years old) and 737-200 (28 years old) variants across the carrier’s network. The 737-700 has been configured in a two-class arrangement with 12 Business and 120 Economy seats.
The confirmation of the Boeing order, which was formally signed in November 2013 but was previously allocated to an unidentified customer until early this year, is part of the Mozambique flag-carrier and the country's Ministry of Transport and Communication's long-term strategy to increase flight frequency and provide greater route flexibility to and from the southern African nation.
The first aircraft is due to arrive in May 2015 with additional deliveries in 2016 and 2017. The order, valued at $228 million at list prices, also includes purchase rights for three additional Next-Generation 737s. “These aircraft will be used in all the provincial capitals on the domestic market, as well as on routes to Ethiopia and Zambia. T hey will also fly to Dubai and Mumbai from Nacala,” said Dra. Marlene Mendes Manave, chief executive officer, LAM - Linhas Aereas de Mocambique.
In order to thrive in this highly competitive environment, LAM - Linhas Aereas de Mocambique has developed an in-depth Strategic Business Plan which resulted in the restructuring of its network to facilitate its growth and expansion. "This investment in the Next-Generation 737-700s will help Mozambique to remain at the forefront of the growing demand for air travel in our region and enable expansion into several new markets,” said Dra Manave.
"The development of gas and other hydrocarbon resources, including oil, will have major implications for Mozambique – a strong aviation infrastructure with a modern fleet of Next-Generation 737 jetliners will be of enormous benefit to the people of Mozambique, business travelers and our tourism industry, and will substantially contribute to our economic development," she added.